Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People (Bookring)
ISBN: 0716740044 Global Overview for this book
4 journalers for this copy...
But the question is, "why?" If infidelity is so popular among the populace, why is it still stigmatized? Why are the perpetrators often vilified? If "everyone's doing it," why are impeachments made and careers and lives ruined when sexual wanderings are publicly exposed? And if everyone knows what can happen, why do they stray from their monogamous relationships in the first place?
The answers to these and other questions can be found in the book, The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People by husband and wife co-authors David P. Barash, Ph.D. and Judith Eve Lipton, M.D., in which they argue that despite the public's shock and surprise surrounding these infidelities, cheating on one's spouse is the rule; not the exception.
In this alluring book, Barash, a zoologist and psychology professor, and Lipton, a psychiatrist, contend that the unfaithful behavior displayed by so many in our culture is natural and that, in truth, the unnatural behavior is the attempted practice of monogamy. They maintain "there is no evidence, either from biology, primatology, or anthropology, that monogamy is somehow "natural" or "normal" for human beings. There is by contrast, abundant evidence that people have long been prone to have multiple sexual partners."
The Myth of Monogamy cites numerous biological, psychological, and sociological studies on humans and animals to prove that males and females are not naturally monogamous in any society, be it human, animal, or insect, and that women as well as men are biologically predisposed to cheat on their mates. In it, Barash and Lipton effectively show that from fleas to birds to monkeys to human beings, all manner of wildlife engage in the practice of EPCs or extra-pair copulations for a variety of reasons, and that EPCs are not the exclusive domain of the male animal. Females too can be counted upon to go looking for a more powerful mate, if they deem their own to be less so (lending a possible explanation for why Clinton, Jackson, and their ilk are successful in finding willing partners).
Furthermore, using the same DNA technology useful for identifying unknown soldiers or freeing the falsely convicted, biologists have discovered that even animals long thought to be monogamous are far from it:
"When we examine the genes of baby birds, even those species long thought to be absolute paragons of monogamous fidelity, we find that 10, 20, sometimes 30 percent of the offspring are not genetically connected to the socially identified father . . . But only now, with the accumulation of literally dozens of research studies using DNA data, do we know for sure: Females, even females in species long thought to be sexually faithful, often are not."
Armed with this new DNA evidence, scientists have also been able to explain:
Why animals cheat,
Why the myth of monogamy was created,
How men and women were sucked into the monogamy hoax,
How big a role procreation plays in the desire to have several sexual partners,
Who stands to gain the most by perpetuating the myth of monogamy.
Does this mean that the faithfully monogamous segment of the population can be classified as freaks? Not at all, declare Barash and Lipton who, despite their findings, still respect and support the monogamous love union. In their estimation: "The perfect fit of a good monogamous marriage is made, not born. And despite the fact that much of our biology seems to tug in the opposite direction, such marriages can in fact be made. It is an everyday miracle."
Sure to inspire you to question your own ideas about sex and fidelity, The Myth of Monogamy promises to be of interest to anyone who is even the least bit curious about human sexuality-in other words, just about everyone!
(modified, from bookcrosser LaurieS)
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Last updated, 11/22/06
Sent to lorelei03 at 3pm PST on 19 January 2007 by cheap mail.